Starting a project
This is covered in the Where to Grow section left (Basics - Indoor Growing etc). This page is about starting, organising and developing a group into a flourishing organisation.
The RHS provide useful advice here www.rhs.org.uk/communities
As do TCV here http://www.tcv.org.uk/hollybush
And Incredible Edible Todmorden http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/resources/17-tips-for-incredible-edible-activists
Doing Good in Leeds (training courses) http://doinggoodleeds.org.uk/training-directory
Types of group / organisation
When you start, you'll probably either be an existing group from somewhere else, or you'll recruit friends and colleagues into an informal group. Initially you may not need to do any more, but if you want to apply for funding, insurance etc you'll need a bank account. And for that, like Feed Leeds, you'll need to become an Unincorporated Association.
1) Unincorporated Associations
These are groups of individuals who enter into an agreement as volunteers to form a body to accomplish a purpose. They're simple to set up - all you need to do is write a Constitution and then agree to abide by the terms within it. Unlike charitable companies and CIOs, you and the other trustees will be liable for what you do, because unincorporated associations don’t have legal status. So you may not be able to employ staff, own land or hold investments in its name, but you can have a bank account, insurance etc, and you can apply for funds, so it's worth considering.
Committee structure for UAs.
Sample Constitution (from Leicestershire) http://www.valonline.org.uk/constitution-template
Find the Feed Leeds constitution to download here
If you do apply for a bank account, they will probably ask for a signed copy of the constitution, witnessed IDs for the named officer signatories, and a simple business plan.
Simple business plan http://www.communityactionderby.org.uk/resources-for-groups/business-planning
2) Community Interest Companies (CICs)
CICs are the next step up and are designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good. CICs offer the flexibility and certainty of a proper company, but have special features to make sure they're working for the benefit of a community.
CIC Governance http://www.manna.me.uk/cic/governance/
Advice from The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/dec/01/setting-up-community-interest-company
CIC's can easily convert to become CIOs
3) Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs)
CIOs offer all the benefits of a charitable company such as limited liability, corporate entity, exemption from Corporation Tax, Gift Aid and so on, but are much simpler to run.
In time you may want to consider becoming something even more adventurous; a mutual, a co-op, a limited company, a full charity, an industrial and provident society, or a trust - but by then you'll probably know more about it than we do!
More about social enterprises https://www.gov.uk/set-up-a-social-enterprise
and Knowhow Non-Profit: http://knowhownonprofit.org/contact-info
Please advise of any broken links, or links you think should be included here